Turn off / disable the firewall in Windows 7
By default, Windows 7 comes with full security turned on: this includes having the Windows firewall automatically enabled, and protecting your PC from various threats. But you may want to use your own, third-party firewall software, in which case it may be better to turn off and disable the Windows firewall altogether, to avoid conflicts and have one firewall interfere with the other (which in some cases could end up making your computer less safe). In this tutorial, we will explain how to turn off the firewall, and how to turn it back on later on; note that we do not recommend having a disabled firewall except if you have another firewall running, or for PCs that never go online.
Turn off the Windows firewall in Windows 7
Follow these steps to disable the built-in firewall:
- Open the start menu, and type "firewall" in the search field; then, click on the "Windows Firewall" link displayed in the search results, under Control Panel:
- Windows 7 will open the firewall settings screen under System and Security; on the left pane, locate the "Turn Windows Firewall on or off" link and click on it. Note that this feature requires administrative privileges; if you are a standard user, you will need to supply the Administrator's password to access the next screen.
- The screen that opens in the Control Panel allows you to "Customize settings for each type of network" - this means that Windows 7 can have the firewall turned off when you are on a local network (like the HomeGroup in your house), but be turned on by default when you are using a public network (like the one at school, at work, in a public library or at the local Starbucks).
- The four settings for each network type are the same:
- To completely disable the Windows 7 firewall, switch from "Turn on Windows Firewall" (default) to "Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended)" radio button. You can change this setting for only one network type, and leave the second one intact, or disable the firewall for both types.
- Once you have changed your settings, click on the OK button at the bottom to save these options.
Warning: Remember that this setting will remain in place until you manually change it back: in other words, be very careful when joining a new network to classify it properly: if you have turned off the Windows Firewall for home networks (private network), and you mistakenly join a public network as a private one, you will not be protected!
Turn back on the Windows Firewall
To switch back on the firewall for either or both network types, just follow the same steps explained earlier, and make your changes. As a general rule, it is better to be on the safe side and give too much importance to Windows security than to take potentially very damaging risks - the Windows Firewall works best, and in tandem with a well established and up-to-date antivirus software solution.up ↑